Vicky wasn’t planning to lose weight but decided to support her husband Martin on his dieting goals and transformed her own figure. Both husband and wife have kept the weight off seven years later.

Vicky and Martin Before

Vicky Kelly from Glasgow wanted to support her husband as he tried to lose weight and didn’t expect to end up in the best shape of her life. Now 44, Vicky is a full-time health and wellness coach who has lost ten per cent of her body fat (and gained more muscle) in her efforts to support her husband. The pair have made their healthy habits permanent and have kept the weight off for seven years. Here are their inspirational stories…

Vicky’s story

I’ve always tried to exercise but nothing ever stuck as a long-term habit. I’d occasionally hill walk, enter 10K races for charity, train, do the event and then not keep it up afterwards. I’d join a gym, go to a few classes but then I’d let other life factors take priority and end up not going for long periods and eventually cancel the membership.

When I decided to support Martin in his weight loss efforts, I felt like my body was just as it was meant to be. I’d had two kids, I was in my mid-thirties and I thought that tired and grumpy every morning and craving sugary treats in the afternoon was just an age-related stage of life. I wasn’t looking to change myself, but I knew that Martin was really unhappy in himself and that supporting him would improve his chances of achieving his goals. If it worked for me too, that was an added bonus.

For the first two months I steadily lost one to two pounds per week but what I noticed more than the weight loss was that I just felt better in myself. I felt calmer, had less cravings, brighter skin, less bloated, not tired in the mornings and more energy. I then started to exercise regularly, take up new physical hobbies and challenge my body.

I’d seen an old school friend on Facebook looking amazing and sharing photographs of healthy, active people, so I approached her to ask if what she was doing could help Martin, who wanted to change his nutrition to support his physical goals. I didn’t know of Herbalife at the time, but she supported us to get started. We were to replace two meals a day with shakes, or in our case we introduced two meals, as we both used to skip breakfast and lunch. We were also to have two healthy snacks, hydrate well, have a balanced evening meal and move more. I loved that the meals suggested were homemade and ones we could enjoy together as a family and that the activity was at our own level, wherever we began was fine.

When I started to improve my diet, I noticed the cravings stopped, so I had much more control over temptations. I could make a conscious decision whether to take or leave them as I was no longer being driven by an inner hungry monster.

Beforehand exercise was a real effort. I knew I would feel amazing after it and I had previously suffered with postnatal depression, so I knew it was really good for my mental health, but I’d need energy drinks beforehand and would crave high carbohydrate meals afterwards which all counteracted the benefits of doing the exercise, so I’d see no physical change. I also need lots of motivation to get out of the door and go do it and was often easily distracted. If a friend was unwell, that was enough of an excuse for me not to go too. If there was an end goal, I could also persuade myself but once that was achieved the activity habit stopped.

Vicky AfterIt has been a massive lifestyle change for both of us. Most evenings we would sit in front of the television and just eat to make up for all we hadn’t eaten during the day and then fall asleep on the couch.

My body confidence is dramatically different. I never actually realised at the time how much I hid myself away. I’d happily take photographs of everyone else, but I have so few taken of myself. Getting dressed to go for a night out was an horrendous task of trying on numerous outfits and eventually just wearing the one I felt the least uncomfortable in. If I did wear something that stood out, I’d instantly regret it and then feel self-conscious all night.

The key benefit to losing weight the way I have is that it has been a long term physical and mental health improvement. Had I not changed seven years ago my life now would have been very different.

I am really loving my weight training just now. I feel physically and mentally strong. It is a great stress release and I love how my body shape is changing but my overall goal is just to continue to feel confident in my skin, have enough energy to meet daily challenges, enough to spare to have fun and enjoy living life healthily, for as long as I possibly can.

Martin’s story

Martin Before44-year-old Martin is a senior worker in a large UK bank. He was over 23 stones when he decided to change his body. He now weighs 14st 9lbs and has just 16 per cent body fat…

As I got older, I began to get lazier with my eating and drinking. I regularly skipped breakfast as I was so busy, and I just used to go to work and have coffee and then eat anything and everything at night.

I had a mental breakdown having been working on a project for seven months away from home. I felt like a failure. I felt like I had let my family down and not achieved what we set out to do. I felt pretty worthless. I had no self-esteem. I looked in the mirror and hated what I saw. I hated how I had let myself go.

At this point, I knew I had two choices – believe I was a failure and give up or fight to get myself back. At this point I was also diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Weight loss was sporadic at first, I lost some weight from when I made the decision but then plateauing after about two stones in about five months. The remainder came off relatively quickly once I sorted out my diet properly and began to learn about what I should be having and in what quantities.

When I first started losing weight, I’d run and cycle. Or rather I’d waddle and huff/puff and always out of sight of anyone. Gradually, as I lost weight and got fitter, I’d get better and gain a little confidence. I’m now active seven days a week. I run between 20 and 40 miles depending on how far away my next race is and I also do strength and conditioning training at a gym.

I’ve been fortunate enough to complete over 19 ultramarathons between 33 and 100miles as well as two iron distance duathlons (112-mile cycle, 27 mile run) and 3 x 105-mile adventure races (run, bike and kayak).

Martin AfterMentally and emotionally I’m in a far better place and much more resilient. Physically I have much more confidence and enjoy exercising and challenging myself now.

I’ve kept the weight off because I didn’t diet. I got active and learned about nutrition. This means the habits I formed that caused the weight gain wouldn’t be the ones I returned to once I finished my diet. By overhauling my lifestyle, learning what was good and what wasn’t healthy for me I could form new habits, such as having a breakfast every day, drinking sufficient water and balancing my carbohydrate, protein and good fats.

We don’t gain weight overnight so shouldn’t expect to lose it overnight either. Being patient and recognising that this is a life change is the key.

More information

Vicky and Martin AfterVicky and Martin Kelly are both ambassadors for nutrition brand Herbalife. You can visit Vicky’s website at https://vickykelly.goherbalife.com